New strings program for kids provides music (fun)damentals to last a lifetime

July 18, 2023

CMC is launching new programs and classes this fall including the Youth Strings Program developed by Erik Andersen, Strings Department Chair, and Katie Wreede, Young Musicians Program/Chamber Music Coordinator. The Youth Strings Program utilizes a year-long, small group format giving kids the opportunity to play and learn with others in a supportive and social environment. The beginning strings classes are designed for ages 6–7 and focus on the fundamentals of playing and caring for a string instrument. Students in the program get a starter kit with practice materials and instrument accessories and parents receive coaching from faculty on supporting music instruction at home. The beginning classes are progressive, graduating students into ensembles which will be added in 2024. The program also has the potential of being a feeder into the tuition-free Young Musicians Program, Chamber Music Camps, and Chamber Music Ensembles.

Youth Strings fills an important niche for young string players. The classes provide, as Erik Andersen said, “instruction for younger kids in a small group setting where they can develop the technical skills and ensemble skills necessary for easy progress into our more advanced programs.”

Katie Wreede added that, “Many young students learn well in a fun, small group setting. The new program begins there and grows through a progressive levels approach that lets students mark their progress as they move from beginning to early ensemble playing to more advanced groups.”

Andersen and Wreede have taken special care in choosing repertoire that represents a diversity of cultures. As Wreede shared, “(C)ollaborating with Erik Andersen to build a repertoire that reflects the diversity of cultures in San Francisco is very exciting.”

Andersen has ideas for how the program might support the greater musician community in the Bay Area with visions of, “this program fostering a community of string playing in San Francisco by providing more access to much needed early instruction and a love of playing strings that will last a lifetime.”

Learn more about the Youth Strings Program here.